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Russian Topol M intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade in Moscow. Alamy Stock Photo
dublin meeting

US team meets Irish diplomats as part of bid to restart engagement with Russia on nuclear deal

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the meeting took place on Tuesday in Dublin.

US GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS have met with Irish diplomats in Dublin to request their help in international discussions to restart anti-nuclear weapons talks with Russia, The Journal has learned.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the meeting took place on Tuesday.  

It comes amid tensions between Russia and the United States over the ongoing war in Ukraine saw the Government of Vladimir Putin suspend involvement in a treaty designed to limit the danger of a nuclear conflict.  

Concerns are mounting in the international community that tensions between Western countries and Russia could result in a complete breakdown in diplomatic ties.

Many of those concerns are centred around the fact that Russia has suspended its participation in the New Start treaty — the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the US. 

The treaty was in the headlines last month when it was referenced by Putin in a major state-of-the-nation speech.

In an address to mark a year since the launch of the invasion of Ukraine, he also said Russia should be ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if the US does so – a move that would end a global ban on nuclear weapons tests in place since the end of the Cold War.

Explaining his decision to suspend Russia’s obligations under the 2010 New Start treaty, Putin accused the US and its Nato allies of openly declaring the goal of Moscow’s defeat in Ukraine.

“It is not withdrawing from the treaty, but is suspending its participation,” he said. “No one should be under the illusion that global strategic parity can be violated.”

New Start, signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2010 when relations were warmer, restricted Russia and the United States to a maximum of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads each, a reduction of nearly 30% from the previous limit set in 2002.

Moscow had initially announced in early August that it was suspending US inspections of its military sites under New Start. It said it was responding to American obstruction of inspections by Russia – a charge denied by the White House.

Diplomacy between the two powers has ground to a bare minimum over the past year.

The United States is leading a drive to punish Russia economically for its war against Ukraine and is arming Kyiv with billions of dollars in weapons.

Putin has also issued thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, reviving Cold War era fears.

Russia and China have begun to extend diplomatic contacts with non-aligned countries in Africa, particularly around the Sahel region, and other states such as Brazil, India and South Africa.  

It is understood that these countries are the focus for US diplomats’ conversations with Irish diplomats. There are fears within Washington that Moscow’s charm offensive with these nations is aimed at persuading them to further align with Russia. 

Ireland is not the only country which the US officials have requested help from but it is understood that Ireland’s positive relations with the various countries means that Irish diplomats are seen as honest brokers with none of the historic colonial baggage of bigger states. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has a team of diplomats working on nuclear non proliferation projects ever since then minister Frank Aiken signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on behalf of the country back in 1968.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the US visit and reiterated Ireland’s commitment to nuclear disarmament. 

“US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Alexandra Bell, met with officials in my Department yesterday during her visit to Dublin.

“In the meeting a range of issues were discussed including Russia’s concerning suspension of the New Start Treaty.

“Ireland has called on Russia to resume implementation of the Treaty. In this regard the Tánaiste has stated the verified reduction of deployed strategic nuclear arsenals under New Start contributes to international and European security and to the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” the spokesperson said. 

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